Back to School, Back to Work and Back to Setting Some Goals

dreamstime_xs_50890805As September rolls in, students and parents are preparing to go back to school, and business owners and entrepreneurs everywhere are getting back into the swing of things after a relaxing summer.

So now that we are nearly at the end of the year and quite close to the last quarter of 2016, it’s time to stop, re-evaluate, set some goals and dive right in!

Why setting goals is important?

I always ask the same question ‘If you haven’t set a final destination, how do you know you’ve arrived?’. If you haven’t set up business goals and targets to measure progress, how do you know if you’re hitting them? How do you evaluate your performance? How do you improve?

According to research, more than 80% of the 300 small business owners surveyed in the recent 4th Annual Staples National Small Business Survey said that they don’t keep track of their business goals, and 77% have yet to achieve their vision for their company. We even outlined that 58% of customers we survey in our Business Accelerator test aren’t hitting sales targets and goals! So with so many companies out there failing to see the value in setting goals, is it really worth it? Yes, yes it is! And here is why:

  • Measure progress – Setting goals is a great way to measure your own progress. Are you achieving your goals? If you aren’t then what can you change? If you are, maybe you need to aim higher. The key is that you need a signpost to measure yourself against.
  • Being goal oriented and working towards a target is proven to yield better results – Goal setting is the first step toward successful goal achievement. It marks your first point toward success. It is what put your life into real action mode. Without this step, the other steps of goal achievement cannot take place. Furthermore, having a goal gives you something to work towards. It gives you a direction, clarity and vision. Something to break down into work towards.

How to set goals for yourself and for your business?

Start by distinguishing your long-term goals from your short-term ones. What do you want to achieve in the next 3 years and what do you want to achieve by the end of this year. How does hitting this year’s target is going to impact on your long term one?

What is your goal about?

Not all business goals are financial ones, although a certain number in the bank is the most common target.

Some goals relate to the services offered and how by improving them you can improve customer satisfaction. Other goals relate to growth, you want to open another office, hire additional X number of employees or even grow your customer base by a certain amount.

shutterstock_124302109Make your goals SMART

SMART is an acronym for the 5 elements of specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based goals. It’s a simple tool used by businesses to go beyond the realm of fuzzy goal-setting into an actionable plan for results.

  • Specific – Make your goals as laser focussed as you possibly can. ‘I want more customers’ is not a specific goal. ‘I want more revenue’ isn’t specific either. How do you define ‘more’. Instead think about actual numbers. ‘I want to acquire 70 new customers between now and the end of the year’ or ‘I want to generate £5000 in additional revenue in the next 4 months’. Now these are examples of definite and specific goals you can work towards.
  • Measurable – A business goal without a measurable outcome is like a sports competition without a scorekeeper. Numbers are an essential part of any business plan or strategy. Put concrete numbers in your goals to know if you’re on track.
  • Achievable – Achievable business goals are based on the current conditions and realities of the business climate, your own capacity and capabilities. You may very well want to have your best year in business or increase revenue by 50%, but if the economic climate doesn’t allow it, or if you don’t have the manpower to serve that many customers, then your goal is simply out of reach. Be objective and set out to pursue goals that are pushing you but are still attainable.
  • Relevant – Not some wild-scheme idea which has no basis with the business, business settings or business trend. Instead pick a goal that is relevant to your business growth and will help you.
  • Timely – What is your time scale for achieving your goal? 1 month? 4 months? 1 year? Business goals and objectives just don’t get done when there’s no time frame tied to the goal-setting process. Whether your business goal is to increase revenue by 20% or find 5 new clients, choose a time-frame to accomplish your goal.

Share them with your team

Once you’ve identified your SMART goal or goals, share those with your team. Unless these are personal goals you can work on by yourself, you will need your entire team behind you to hit them.

With everyone knowing what the goals are and what the time frame for achieving them is, working together toward the same objectives becomes easy. This way your team can execute strategy faster, with more flexibility and adaptability.

Break down your goal into actions

Now that you have your SMART goals and your team is on board to hitting them, get everyone together, discuss and identify the actions that you need to put in place to hit your targets.

Judging by your current conversion rate, how many new leads does your marketing team need to generate so that your sales team can turn them into paying customers? How much more products or services do you need to create and sell to generate the revenue that you want to generate?

How do those translate into actions and who’s in charge of each action? By breaking your big goals into manageable chunks and assigning those tasks to the right people, you can rest assured that you will hit your targets every time!
Some people find setting up goals quite tricky, they don’t know where to begin, how to articulate what they want or how to break them down into actionable tasks. Hopefully this article has clarified that for you.

If you require some hands-on help setting up goals and then achieving them too, take our Business Accelerator Test and chat to one of our experienced growth strategists on how we can supercharge your business growth and help you smash your targets!

Before you go, don’t forget to tell me in the comments, what’s your SMART goal from now until the end of 2016?

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